Explorer – Total-body imaging scanner captures 3D picture in seconds

Dynamic total body scanner

The EXPLORER scanner will allow the delivery, metabolism and excretion of many substances and drugs to be followed in the entire human body in a similar manner. Photo - University of California, Davis, United Imaging Healthcare and Zhongshan Hospital, Shanghai.

A positron emission tomography (PET) scan is a nuclear medicine functional imaging technique that allows doctors to observe metabolic processes in the body and aids in the diagnosis of diseases. The scan uses a special dye containing radioactive tracers. These tracers are either swallowed, inhaled, or injected, depending on what part of the body is being examined.

Scientists at the University of California Davis (UCD)  professor Simon Cherry,  department of biomedical engineering, and Ramsey Badawi, chief of nuclear medicine at UCD Health and vice-chair for research in the department of radiology, have successfully developed a scanner for  total body scan. Cherry and Badawi conceived this idea almost 15 years ago, and it was kickstarted in 2011 with  support from the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health.

Explorer, the world’s first total-body imaging scanner, can capture a 3D picture of the whole human body at once. It has the capability to scan up to 40 times faster, and it uses up to 40 times less radiation dose than current PET systems. Because it captures radiation more efficiently than other scanners, it can produce an image in as little as one second and can create a diagnostic scan of the whole body in as little as 20 seconds.

Explorer is a combined positron emission tomography (PET), and X-ray computed tomography (CT) scanner that can image the entire body at the same time. It can also capture real-time videos of blood flow and heart function. According to developers, the technology has countless applications, from improving diagnostics to tracking disease progression to researching new drug therapies. Recently, researchers have published their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal in January 2020.

Tracking changes in real-time

According to Qi and project scientist Xuezhu Zhang, the combination of the scanner and advanced data reconstruction enables real-time tracking of blood flow over the human circulatory system, motion-frozen heart beating and breathing monitoring for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease and analysis of respiratory system function. Zhang has developed methods to reduce noise and reconstruct images from the raw data from Explorer scans of volunteers. They were able to see changes on a scale of 100 milliseconds or one-tenth of a second and use these to create high-quality real-time movies of their scans.

Unique features of Explorer

According to the developers, the quality of images is much better and allows physicians to see smaller tumors and other diseases in advance. The scanner can be set up to run much faster than conventional PET scanners, which can make it easier and more comfortable for patients. This is particularly good for young children or patients with joint pain. The scanner can alternatively be set up to use much less radiation, which is helpful for children, or research where the same person needs to be scanned many times. The entire body can be imaged at the same time, which means it can track changes in a drug’s distribution throughout the whole body, enabling an understanding of the concentration of medicine in every organ and tissue over time.

The scanner is now commercially available from United Imaging Healthcare, Shanghai.


The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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Technical Editor - Mandeep Kaur is working with IPP Group and holding editorial responsibilities for the IndiFoodBev and PSA Healthcare platforms. Earlier she handled editorial responsibilities of food, beverage, and agriculture publications at another publisher. A gold-medalist in M Tech (Food Technology), she has hands-on experience in operating different types of instruments related to physico-chemical testing of grains and flour. She has worked at Evalueserve in the Intellectual Property (IP) division for more than three years handling projects in the life sciences domain.


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